I am putting this out there: I am arachnophobic. I have an irrational fear of spiders, to the point that if I see one crawling in my vicinity, I will tense up, feel my blood pressure shoot up and basically be psychologically paralyzed until I can gather the nerve to deal with the pest (or call my wife to deal with it, which happens more than I want to admit).
But with Armies of Myth I may have to get over my fear of spiders in order to build a deck I have been dying to since I first saw Xentoth’s Inquisitor in Shards of Fate. Vennen, these half orc/half spider abominations have a plethora of nasty tricks to put bane cards of spider eggs into their opponent’s deck and then when these cards are drawn create free troops for you. And who doesn’t like free troops?
This mechanic is directly aimed at punishing the “card advantage” mentality that professional players dream of. Pros want to get as many cards in their hand as possible, and have more cards than their opponent, so they can outplay them with options instead of relying on lucky topdecks in order to win. With bane cards in the deck, every time your opponent digs into their deck they have a chance to draw into an egg which plays right into your plans.
First let’s look at the deck.
Champion: Zorzym of Korru
First is our champion, the one tailor made for Banes and that’s Zorzym of Korru. This vennen champ puts Spiderling Eggs into each opposing champions deck for one Blood, one Sapphire, and three charges. While this is obviously a better effect in limited where the deck sizes are smaller, we’ll be hyperfocused on adding bane cards to our opponents’ deck so it should work itself out.
Next are the egg layers. Hatchery Priest is a great 1 drop to start seeding eggs early. The Exarch of the Egg is great because we’ll have a lot of vennen entering play on our side. Phenteo, the Brood Priest lays the insanely powerful Terrorantula Eggs, so he’s an easy 4-of at 3 cost, even if he’s unique (expect removal to be used on him early and often). Finally Parriphagy gives us some removal, while at the same time laying some eggs.
The Hatchery Cultivator works great by adding +1 to the amount of eggs laid. Getting a couple cultivators out will really help in cramming more and more eggs into your opponent’s deck.
Now, we have to cause our opponent to draw those eggs! If your opponent is playing a heavy card draw deck, they will be doing a lot of the work for you, but it doesn’t hurt to start with the assumption that you are going to need to get those eggs out on your own. For that we have Chronic Madness to start the bury-train early, and hopefully, often. Remember, you don’t want to start burying until you have a good amount of eggs in the deck. Next up is Xentoth’s Inquisitor with the Major Sapphire of Subterfuge, forcing a bury of 4 cards every time he’s played. Finally we have Eternal Sage. While this Construct has abilities based on any shard played, we actually only need the two for Blood and Sapphire. Blood gets us a decent bury rate of 5 cards, and Sapphire gets us a “mini-Gralk” effect allowing attacks that might not have been possible through exhausting an opposing troop.
Finally we have our two Win-Cons. First up is the obvious one: Xartaxis, Bishop of the Azure Fang. In addition to creating spiders on his own, he’s going to give us card draw when spiders damage the opposing champion. And wouldn’t you know it, Spiderlings created by the Spiderling Eggs are unblockable! That’s like having an army of Draw-Gemmed Eldritch Dreamers at your disposal! If the mass of spiders isn’t enough to finish your opponent, then Devouring Doomspore is. This 6/6 can be brought out as early as turn 3 (you’ve got a nice array of low drops in the deck) or you can wait until you have enough spiders to sacrifice and bring him out. Regardless, he’s got at least Rage 3 and so he’s going to be a huge threat for a while. Plus, he’s not unique so you can get multiples of him out and eat your opponent alive.
Finally the sideboard: This consists of an array of staple Sapphire cards that are useful vs. a lot of different decks, especially if your opponent is draw heavy. When playing against a deck that is doing a lot of card drawing you can let them kill themselves and swap in some of the better control cards to deal with the threats they get onto the board for the Chronic Madnesses and Eternal Sages. You could also swap the gem in Xentoth’s to Brutality, or just remove him altogether for more control. Extinction works great even if you have to lose a lot of troops in the process. Hopefully you’ll have a lot of bane cards in your opponent’s deck so you can build a board back up with your opponent’s help in the draw department.
So there you have it, a spider-based vennen deck that’s not trying to get your opponent to bury himself out, but does want him to see a bunch of his deck so you can get as many spiders into play as possible. It’s creepy, sure, but I think it’s going to be worth it. And this is only built with the cards we know about in Armies of Myth. More cards may be coming that work better in the main deck or the sideboard, so you’ll have a lot of flexibility in making this your own.